Saturday, July 27, 2013

Doorposts: Bible-Based Parenting & Character Training Resources & an Amazing Giveaway!!

In addition to the Bible--the supreme word on raising children--where do you get your favorite child-rearing material? Do you have a good source for Godly resources on modesty, purity, and character training?  

My favorite site for all-things-parenting is Doorposts.

{Note: I am in no way compensated by Doorposts.}

I am a new Doorposts fan, thanks to my blogging friend Tauna, who introduced me to them on her site. Doorposts is a Christian publishing company specializing in "Bible-based parenting and character training materials." Their products include Bible studies, resources for child-raising, scripture memorization tools and catechism, even Bible-based toys for children. 

Some of my personal favorite Doorposts products include the following, all of which I own and use:

The "If-Then" Chart

The "If-Then" Chart is a disciplinary tool to use with your children. In the first column is the offense; in the second column, what the Bible says about that offense; and in the third column, you can write or draw in the punishment for such offense.

We ordered the color chart (8.5x11, laminated) and it resides on the refrigerator. What I LOVE about the "If-Then" Chart is that I am set off pretty easily by disrespect and disobedience, which has resulted in me exasperating my children--a sin. This chart gives me time to stop, bring the offending child to the refrigerator, and say a quick prayer for calm and wisdom. I simply point to the picture on the chart, read the accompanying scripture, and the child sees what her punishment will be.

Our "If-Then" Chart

The "If-Then Chart" brings consistency to our discipline because the punishment is clear for the offense, so every time my daughter argues with me or complains, she knows to expect an additional chore. She knows her punishment, and I don't have to rack my brain trying to think of an appropriate way to handle her offense. 

We have drawn in spoons, indicating that offense requires a certain number of swats.

I highly recommend the "If-Then" Chart if, like me, you struggle with being consistent in disciplining your children. The chart really works. There are other handy-dandy charts for training your children that you should check out; I've heard the Brother Offended Checklist is great, too!

Watchwords, Scripture in Hand Calligraphy

I am always on the lookout for classic depictions of scripture to hang in our house. I truly believe that being surrounded by God's Word--writing it on the doorposts and gates of your house--provides opportunity to meditate on it, discuss it with others and apply to our lives. So when Doorposts sent a $10 coupon to its email subscribers, I
jumped on the opportunity to buy the Watchwords, Scripture in Hand Calligraphy

This verse is in our bedroom. Appropriate, huh?!

Printed on cream parchment, these 12 verses in calligraphy are formatted to fit in 5x7 frames (unmatted) or in 8x10 frames (matted or unmatted)

In the laundry room. The place I need the most inspiration!

They are a beautiful addition to our home. 

Framed & sitting in our living room where disorder happens most often.
The verses included are:

Plus, they make great gifts! Think: weddings, housewarming, new babies, Christmas, birthdays, or just because.

Located in our kitchen

Not only does Doorposts sell God-honoring products for every member of the family, but they also write one of my favorite blogs, Doorposts of Your House. Right now, they are going through Doorposts' excellent new Bible study for busy mamas. I recently won a copy of Thirty Days of Bible Study for Busy Mamas: Colossians 3 and can't wait to dig in!

Doorposts' products are all high-quality, and their customer service is excellent! I cannot speak more highly of this company and would recommend it to anyone.

Even though I am a new Doorposts fan, I couldn't be more thrilled to share my love for Doorposts with you, my lovely readers. Doorposts has generously offered one special reader a $25 gift certificate to anything in their online store. Enter the Rafflecopter giveaway below!

The giveaway will be open through Tuesday, July 31, at 12:00 a.m. CDT. I will contact the winner, who will have 48 hours to reply. Thanks and good luck!


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Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Raising Children to be Last in a "Me First" World (or some lessons I'm learning as a mom)

Entitlement has been the topic of the summer for me as I deal with my own issues as well as those of my young children. We live in an entitled society where "have it your way" has become a personal motto for most people and where "me first" isn't just something your two-year-old demands.

But as I have mentioned before, we don't deserve anything, and if we want to teach our children how to follow Christ, then that means lessons in self-denial, contentment, and living a life of humility--something we have to be intentional about. The world is only going to teach them the opposite.

I don't have all the answers. My kids beg for stuff every time we go to the store just like yours. I throw pity parties on a regular basis. But here are a few lessons I'm learning as a mom.

Stop indulging them with the material.

I've learned that when I bring home trinkets for my kids--even from the dollar bin at Target--they come to expect them. My husband learned this lesson the hard way when he caved to the kids' request for popcorn and slushies at the Target Cafe. Bless his little heart. He thought that was something I always did :) So, now, every time he comes with us to Target, the girls ask for popcorn and slushies. Smart cookies, but their Daddy's no dummy either.

When children receive more and more and suddenly you stop giving, they become sullen, confused, even angry. "Why isn't Mommy buying stuff for me any more?" they wonder. They think they are supposed to have those things, that they're entitled. That's when ingratitude and discontent creep in. I've seen kids who have been given so much that they show absolutely zero gratitude when you give them a gift. And why would they? They've already got it!

Kids don't need any more stuff, so just stop it!

Instead, indulge them with the immaterial.

Forego the bubble gum and crayons, and shower them with your love instead. Give them hugs, kisses, and lots of time. Listen to their silly jokes. Play hide-and-seek with them. Show them that toys and goodies are nothing compared to your love.

This might be a tough one for you if you're a gift giver, but remember that the gifts you give don't have to be things you buy. Take your kids to the park, make cookies with them, have a pajama day and snuggle up with some books. Indulge them with your love.

Instill in them a strong work ethic.

My husband and I were both blessed with hard-working parents who still run circles around most people. That work ethic seems to be missing in so many children these days. Why? Because parents are no longer teaching their children the value of hard work.  

Many children and young adults today have no sense of responsibility. If they want something, it's simply handed to them. While parents naively believe they're giving their children a better life than they had, ultimately, what they're doing is creating dependent, lazy, entitled children who will never be able to finish college or hold down a real job. These are the kids who come back home to live with you when life is too hard.

We have to start teaching our kids right now how to work. Sure it's easier when they're young, but even if they're older, start giving them chores, even if it's just to make their own beds and put away their own clothes. I haven't always done a good job of this because honestly it's faster for me to sweep the floors myself. But with three children--and constantly dirty floors--I'm realizing I can do 1 of 3 things: (1) work myself to death keeping them clean, (2) let them stay dirty, or (3) "employ" our children. The training is a doozie, but I'm sure the dividends will be well worth it. 

Whether you compensate your children or not is up to you; the point is that children need to be taught that: "We are family and we work together for the good of the family." A house where the children play and mommy and daddy do all the work is imbalanced. Whatever the ages of your children, start instilling a work ethic in them today!

To give you some ideas, here's a great chore chart:

The Happy Housewife


Find opportunities to serve.

Serving others is the perfect way to teach your children humility and gratitude. When our kids begin to act "entitled," they need to know that everything they have is a gift from God, and He expects us to use our talents, resources, and abilities for the good of others, to His glory, not for themselves.

 48  From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.
Luke 12:48b

One of our family goals is to serve wherever we can "with humble hearts and willing hands." Even young children can serve. Recently, our church youth group of children ages 2-8 created a poster for a church we help support. It was a very small gesture, I know, but an opportunity nonetheless to teach our children to think outside themselves. With a little paint, some markers, and lots of smiles, those children took part in serving people they may never meet, but who, Lord willing, will be encouraged by their efforts.

Sometimes we think church has to be all about having fun and entertainment, but it isn't. Find ways to serve others; that's real fun.

Other service project ideas you can do with your children:

  • Bake cookies to take to a women's shelter.
  • Visit a nursing home and sing to the residents.
  • Make homemade cards to take to a widow or shut-in.
  • Look around at your neighbors. Could you rake leaves, pick up trash in their yard, take them veggies from your garden? 
  • Go to a local homeless shelter and serve as a family. 
  •  As a family pray for people who you know are struggling. When you see those people, your children may just tell them they've been praying for them. What a great evangelistic tool!
  • Take toys to the police station or the Salvation Army.
  • Bag up canned goods to take to the Food Bank or other local pantry.
  • Take flowers to a sick friend in the hospital. 
 When you serve with your kids, they will begin to see the needs of others and anticipate meeting them. They will start to pray for people other than themselves. They will want to give their money to people they see hurting. They will stop asking for toys and trinkets for themselves and instead start sharing what they have with others.

Whatever we do, Moms, we need to be teaching our children to think outside themselves, to look for opportunities to help those around them, so that one day they won't need our prodding. They will simply see a need and meet it. Isn't that a beautiful goal for our children?

Show them contentment.

As we all know, children mimic what they see, not what they hear. To raise humble, content children, we must be humble, content parents. When our kids hear us whining about not having money for X, they hear discontent. When they see us spending inordinate amounts of time looking in the mirror, they see arrogance and pride. But when we model contentment--when we smile at the good and the bad in our lives--our children see that they too can have joy and be happy with their situations.

More is not better, no matter what the world says. We need to be like Paul, content in whatever situation we face:

 11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.
Philippians 4:11-13

When we are content, our children will themselves learn to find the positives even in the negative.

Moms, we are at war. The world is bombarding us with false messages, telling us that we need to give our children more, the best, the most expensive because they deserve it. What are we doing to defeat those messages? Or are we listening and falling prey? 

What are you doing today to battle entitlement in your own children? What's your advice?

Praying God's blessings on you,

Related posts:
Battling Entitlement in Our Homes
When I Feel Like I Deserve _____________ 
What to do When You Feel Entitled : 5 Tips to Tackle Discontent
for when you want to escape

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Tuesday, July 16, 2013

5 Quick Book Reviews : July 2013 Twitterature

Summer time should be the time for lots of book reading, but that has not been the case for me. I'm not complaining though. We've been otherwise occupied :) 

Still, here's a glimpse of what I've been reading the past two months. I hope you find something you might enjoy!

A Biblical Home Education: Building Your Homeschool on the Foundation of God's Word by Ruth Beechick

If you want your children to have a biblical worldview, you must be intentional in how you teach them. For homeschooling from primary through high school. Theoretical but also very practical. #anotherBeechickclassic #amustreadforhomeschoolers #excelente

 Large Family Logistics: The Art & Science of Managing the Large Family by Kim Brenneman

If you are looking for a book on how to be a better homemaker, this is it, hands down. Don't buy anything else. I call it my homemaking bible. Practical tips, step-by-step procedures, & tons of organizational help. #notjustforlargefamilies #mygo-tohomemakingresource

Of Mice & Men by John Steinbeck

A fast read that breaks my heart every.single.time, probably more so as a mom. Because we all root for the underdog. #classic #must-read #poorLennie


Anything: The Prayer That Unlocked My God & My Soul by Jennie Allen

The inspiration behind my series on entitlement. My impetus to attempt to "deny self, take up my cross, and follow" Jesus every second of every day. Easy to read yet powerful stuff. #lifechanging #findyourAnything

Dreaming of the Bones by Deborah Crombie

#5 in the Duncan Kinkaid/Gemma Jones series. By far Crombie's best work. Cerebral, poetic, simply amazing. #youcan'tescapeyourpast

twitterature monthly reading link up short reviews

Book lovers, check out other posts like this one at Modern Mrs. Darcy's July Twitterature link-up. You're guaranteed to find a new book to read.

This post contains affiliate links. Thanks for supporting my family's reading habit! For more information, read my disclosure policy.

Blessings to you!

Related Posts:
What I'm Reading: April Twitterature
May Twitterature: What's on my Nightstand

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Monday, July 15, 2013

for when you want to escape

Yesterday, I read this quote with a smile

"Amen, sister!" I thought. 

But when I re-read it today, I got angry. No one would take a nap. The baby had been screaming all morning. The preschooler's antics were simply enervating. I'm tired. My husband had been working all weekend, and I felt like I hadn't had a moment to exhale.

Every ounce of my being was screaming, 

"But I need a break! I deserve some peace and quiet! My family is driving me crazy! When do I get some me time?!" 

And I'm throwing a big ol' pity party all by my lonesome. 

But Brenneman is right. 

In those moments when my sanity is hanging by a thread, running from my family anywhere else is simply not the answer. Instead, what I need to do is deny my self and run straight to the cross.

Wise women have told me that parenting is part of the sanctification process. Our children refine us by their actions (or inaction), words, and behavior. We discover our weaknesses while mothering our children. Honestly, despite my red hair, I never knew I had a temper until a toddler tested me.

When we're walking through the refining fires, it's tempting to want to escape. It's too hot. We hurt. We're exhausted. The weight of it all is too much for us. And it is if we try to do it on our own.  

We can't be the best mothers unless we seek God's help in the process. Our children refine us to His glory when we choose to run to God for help rather than escape the flames. 

Escape is not always the best answer.

That's not to say we don't all need some quiet time alone for introspection and reflection. I need it desperately. What I mean is that it's easy to throw in the towel, hand the baby to hubby, and announce your departure: "Good luck! I'm outta here!"

When I'm tired and overwhelmed by the weight of all that's heaped on my plate, that's when I need to run to Jesus for comfort.

Our families should be our joy. 
Our homes should be the only place we want to be.
Our lives should be spent honoring Christ as our first priority.

We should be sad inside when we're separated from our children or our husbands, not jumping up and down in glee that we have some time to ourselves.

Those are hard words to hear, I know, because they're hard for me to type. The world tells us children are a burden, that we "deserve" our time because it will make us happy, and we deserve happiness. Yet, my heart has always felt guilty for wanting time alone. Now I see why. God didn't want it this way. 

I haven't arrived as a Mom. I never will. Even today, I desperately wanted to cop out, but I didn't. 


Because I feel a beautiful change in my heart that I can only explain as the Holy Spirit working in me. He is growing my love for my family and shrinking my love of me. It's a gradual, one-step-forward two-steps-back kind of dance, but as I cling to Him in the midst of rough days like today, I see the moments where He was moving: pulling me to Him when I wanted to run, making me smile when my kids acted silly, stirring up laughter just when we all were crumbling.

Instead of checking out when life becomes challenging, instead of complaining about the sparse time I have for myself, instead of demanding that I be happy, I'm learning-- day to day, with God's help-- to deny myself, cling to the cross, and look for moments of peace here in this place.  

In my home. 
Among my family. 
Surrounded by those I love most. 
With Christ in our midst.

This is where I'm supposed to be. 

What about you? Specifically for those of you who have found peace and joy being at home among your family rather than out in the world, how have you done it? What advice do you have for a young mom of little ones who craves a quiet space but also desperately wants to continue growing in love for her family?

May God continue to richly bless you!

Resources in this post:

This post contains affiliate links. For more info, read my Disclosure Policy. Thanks for supporting my blog!

Related posts:
Battling Entitlement in Our Homes
When I Feel Like I Deserve _____________ 
What to do When You Feel Entitled : 5 Tips to Tackle Discontent

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Thursday, July 11, 2013

2013 Goals Update: My Progress (or Lack Thereof)

I understand that 2013 is over half-way over. I'm behind. As usual. But I thought it was high time for me to reassess my personal goals for the year to see how I'm doing, where I've excelled (for encouragement), and where I need to pick up the slack so I can meet at least some of these goals by year-end.


1. Learn how to use my DSLR camera.



Oh how I love this camera. You point and click like rapid fire and voila! No more missed photos because of moving children! {If you ever have the chance to buy a DSLR, do it. There's just no comparison.} 

I am using my camera, but the learning part hasn't happened. It sure might help if I pulled out the booklet that came with it or the Canon EOS Rebel T3 / 600D for Dummies manual that my mother-in-law bought me for Christmas. I might actually have some better pictures if I did a little reading.

To Do:
  • Dig out the book.
  • Begin by reading the basics followed by the sections most pertinent to blogging photography.
  • Start implementing what I read.

2. Read 50 books this year.


Okay, again, I'm slacking. I've read 18 of the 50 thus far, only 36%. However, in my defense, the books I have read are very lengthy reads. 

Plus, I've waded through some classics like Anna Karenina, Wuthering Heights, and Madame Bovary, so I'm not ashamed. Actually, I'm pretty proud of myself for being disciplined enough to put down the fun mysteries I love and delve in to some serious non-fiction works and literary classics.


To Do:
  • Continue reading the classics. (I've got Of Mice & Men and Robinson Crusoe to read for July & August, per Quirky Bookworm's (now-canceled) challenge, which I'm still following.
  • Block out time every day to read. Right now I'm spending more downtime reading blogs. Instead, I need to allot time to books and blogs, so I meet my 50-book goal.
  • Find some shorter books to read to make up lost time.


3. Try one new recipe or craft from Pinterest a month.


I started the year strong (see these posts), but I decided that while I tried numerous pinned recipes every month, I didn't want to post about them every time. Instead, I created a new board called "Pinned Recipes I've Tried" where I, obviously, repin each recipe I've tried, adding comments regarding how well it turned out, if I'd make it again, how I modified it, etc. Follow me on Pinterest!

I will keep experimenting with pinned recipes and hope to try out some craft/DIY projects too.

To Do:
  • Create a "Pinned Crafts I've Created" board and start working through some.
  • Continue commenting on recipes I've pinned and tried and add them to the "Pinned Recipes I've Tried" board.
  • Possibly add more boards.

4. Run a 5K.

    Finally! One I've done! To find out what I learned from running my first 5K, check out this post. After that race I immediately started training for a 10K and ran upwards of 5.5 miles, but because I never signed up for a race, I lost all motivation to run.  But now I have a running buddy, and even though we don't actually run together, we are training simultaneously for a 10K in September. That is the motivation I need!   
To Do:
  • Register for the 10K race.
  • Continue training. I'm using the 10K Training app (Free on iTunes).

5. Keep a Family Notebook.

    Failure again...sort of. Originally, I had intended to create a 3-ring binder to keep track of family activities, kind of like a yearbook. That just didn't happen. I did, however, find this great post and this one, so I decided to take a digital route (gasp!).

    What that means is that after uploading new pictures to my computer, I delete blurry ones and add dates and labels for each set. For example, "Girls Playing Dress-Up" or "Our Garden in July." I also star the best pictures (a great option in iPhoto) so that at the end of the year when I create our family yearbook, I will just have to run through and upload all the starred pictures
    Additionally, I have ordered prints of over 160 pictures taken since January that I plan to organize into a family photo album because we still enjoy those.  

To Do:
  • Keep uploading, dating, and starring pictures.
  • Begin researching different photo companies to create and order the yearbook in December/January. 
  • Buy new photo album and insert new pictures.

6. Organize my recipes.


Success! As I posted back in January, I created a new binder for recipes clipped from magazines and printed off the internet. I also organized all my recipes by categories so now I can easily and quickly locate the recipe I'm looking for.

To Do:
  • I have some new recipe clippings that need to be filed in the appropriate location.

How are you coming on your 2013 goals? 

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