Don’t Make Me Count to Three

The pleasure I find in reading literature has grown as I have grown.  There is now a sense of overflow.  Please do not misunderstand me.  I can never be full of literature and come to a stopping point.  What I mean is that I want others to enjoy reading the written word as much as I do.  We can all benefit from a good story.  That is why I want to share with you Bookworm Mama.

In this space, I am going to overflow a bit and send some good reads your way!  I have no intention of bashing authors or a style of writing or someone’s story.  Primarily, what I say here will be about books I have read and think others will enjoy reading as well.  In each Bookworm Mama review I will provide a synopsis followed by 2 reasons I think you should check it out also.  Nothing fancy, just my thoughts.  I hope you enjoy!

Title:  Don’t Make Me Count to Three
Author:  Ginger Plowman

don't make me count to three

A mom’s practical approach to biblical parenting.  Shepherding a Child’s Heart by Ted Tripp definitely made me rethink the way I look at parenting.  In my opinion, Don’t Make Me Count to Three takes Tripp’s book and puts “feet” to it.  Plowman addresses many “issues” that I as a mother struggle with or have questions about.  She addresses these “issues” with scripture.  It was extremely encouraging and a great resource!  Reading Tripp’s book first, was very beneficial for the reading of this book.  However, it is not necessary.

2 reasons

Practical.

I like theory, philosophy, foundation, etc. but when it comes down to it I am a practical girl.  I want things black and white, yes or no, up or down.  This book is practical.  As I said in the synopsis, in my opinion, it takes the foundation of Ted Tripp’s Shepherding a Child’s Heart and puts “feet” to it.  Plowman gives examples of how to handle certain situations in the home.  She literally writes out conversations between parent and child.  It is so very helpful!  Probably my favorite part is in Chapter 8 she provides a resource in the form of a chart for addressing certain sins in your child’s life.  The chart includes questions to probe the child’s heart and scripture to use in reproof and encouragement.  This has been great for B and I to work on together so that we ensure we are using God’s word in correcting and teaching our little ones.

Connection.

Plowman points out the connection between how training our children to respond to parents is preparing them for a future relationship with Jesus.  Noel Piper also addresses this in her book Treasuring God in our Traditions, “When we train our children in godly patterns, godly traditions, we’re helping them to get ready to move with the responsibility into adulthood.”  (Piper, 2007) When we teach them to obey immediately, completely, and with a joyful heart we are teaching them to respond to God in this way also.  This doesn’t have to be a secret we keep to ourselves but we can share this with the child as we teach them.  God uses his Word to discipline and guide us and so we must do the same with our children.

Favorite quote

“Children will rise to the standard that the parents set.”

Click here to learn more about Bookworm Mama

image credit

Plowman, G. (2003). Don’t make me count to three. Shepherd Press eBooks.
Piper, N. (2007). Treasuring god in our traditions. (pp. 17-18). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

May Designs

While it is extremely difficult for me to narrow down to saying one thing is my absolute favorite in the whole wide world, there is a

long list of things I really like. Here is just one of the items on my list. I like to call these my Brown Paper Packages!

I received a text one day from my sister that was forwarded from one of her friends.  “50% off all May Books.”

What in the world is a May Book?!  I must say I do love a good sale and 50% off peaked my interested.  So I did what anyone does when they don’t know something.  I googled it.  Let’s just say, May Designs had me from hello.

books_header

In short, a May Book is a “stylish notebook”.  Literally on the May Design website you can find the quote “Mica was sick of using ugly notebooks, so she made some pretty ones.”  And boy am I glad she did!

Each one is customizable.  That’s right; you personalize the book to meet your fancy.  Step one, choose a pattern.  Side note, my favorite right now is the wildflower.  Next you choose a background shape, then a typographic style, a color for your style, what your monogram text will be, and finally how to fill the inside pages.  Seriously, the options are endless.  The inside pages can be a yearly agenda, kids coloring book, address book, meal planner, wedding diary, and many more.  The book is the perfect size to drop in your purse so you never have to be without.  They start at $19.  However, they have sales often.  When I have purchased them they have been 50% off the $19.  I follow them on Twitter and Instagram and they post their sales in both places.  P.S. They make wonderful gifts!!

P.S. Right now May Designs is running a special, 50% off May Notes.  (It says through April 7 but they are still marked down today.)

Click here to learn more about Brown Paper Packages.

 image credit

 

Is it really up to me?

Anything is Possible
You know that I’m unstoppable
When I try there’s nothing I can’t do
Anything is Possible
I can overcome any obstacle
It’s up to me to make my dreams come true

Cherry Jam’s sweet voice echoes through my kitchen, Roxie Kyle happily crunching her carrot sticks and dancing to the beat.

It would be easy to dismiss this song as just an innocent way to boost kids’ confidence.  But you know, I can’t shake it.  I want Roxie Kyle to have confidence.  I want her to work hard at whatever is put before her (Colossians 3:23).  But I do not want her to think that it’s up to her.  I don’t want her to think that she’s unstoppable.

IMG_3792

We aren’t planning to ban Cherry Jam from our house anytime soon.  It is unrealistic to think that we can shelter her from the world.  However, it is realistic that she can be taught how to be in the world but not of the world (Romans 12:2).  Our children have been entrusted to us and this is not a task to be taken lightly.  It is my desire to guard my little girl’s heart from the world’s teaching.  And as she grows I will strive to teach her how to filter the world’s view through God’s truth.  Gloria Furman (2013) says it like this, “Pass everything the world presents you through the sieve of the Word of God—what does God’s word say about it?” (p. 56)

The world says that it is up to us to make our dreams come true.  We can do anything we put our heart to.  God’s Word says, “apart from God you can do nothing” (John 15:5).  God’s Word says, “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13).

The confidence I want my children to understand is their confidence in God not a confidence they can “muster up” on their own.  John Piper addresses this in a sermon entitled, “Raising Children Who Are Confident in God”.  Based from Psalm 78:4, Piper (1996) states, “Knowledge that leads to self-sufficiency rather than dependence on God is not true knowledge but flawed knowledge.”

They are already inundated with views from the world at the young age of two.  There’s no time to look at the small things as innocent or harmless.  Now is the time to begin teaching and protecting my children under the truth of God’s Holy Word.

In addition, I must say that this practice of filtering all things through God’s Word is not something that I should compartmentalize for my children.  Just because I’m an adult doesn’t mean I am “safe”.  Paul addresses the reality of false teaching in his letter to the Galatians.  Whether secular or religious resources I encounter in my adult life, I should do the same.

IMG_3784

B and I are always looking and listening for resources with a biblical foundation to bring into our home.  We have discovered a DVD series entitled “Theo Presents”.   My children have latched on to the series so much that they now ask to watch, “Theo”.  The series is created by Michael Joens who also produced and directed “McGee and Me” and “Adventures in Odyssey”.  His premise is to use cartoon animation to present the gospel of Jesus Christ.  Each DVD has three episodes that average 10 minutes in length.  Each episode focuses on a spiritual topic such as armor of God, forgiveness, fruit of the spirit, and redemption; just to name a few.  In addition, there are parent guides that come with the DVD (they can also be downloaded from the website), coloring pages available for printing, and other resources that can be found on the Theo Presents website.  I would love to hear about the “Theos” in your families’ lives.

Furman, G. (2013). Glimpses of grace. (p. 56). Wheaton: Crossway.
Piper, J. (1996, February 25). Raising children who are confident in god. Retrieved from http://www.desiringgod.org/sermons/raising-children-who-are-confident-in-god
(2012). Jammin with cherry jam [DVD]. United States. Twentieth Century Fox.

National Agriculture Day 2014

Last summer B, Roxie Kyle, and I traveled to our nation’s capital.  It is truly one of my favorite places to visit in the U.S.  One of my dear friends moved there several years ago and I have been able to visit her several times.  Typically, the visits include trying out new restaurants she has discovered, an attraction I haven’t seen before, or maybe a baseball game.  But this visit was different.  I wasn’t just traveling as a tourist but as an advocate.  An advocate for agriculture.

While my family was in D.C. I experienced something I have never experienced before.  An awareness of passion.  Passion for something we, as a family, believe in and depend on for our livelihood.  But it wasn’t just our passion that I sensed.  I realized that this city is filled with passion.  Is there another place in this country where people are working and living their lives with the the sole purpose of standing up for, bringing awareness to, and advocating for their passion?!  Whoa!  At this realization I took a second look at my passion.  The very passion that prompted us to make the trek to this city.

2013-07-25 16.45.01-1

Agriculture has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember.  I’m a farmer’s kid so I spent many long, hot hours on a tractor cutting and raking hay.  And at that point in my life it was something I had to do in order to help pay some college expenses.  Over the years agriculture has continued to be a part of my life.  My college major was agriculture business and I married an agricultural education teacher who is now a full-time farmer.  For years, these experiences were what defined my passion for agriculture.  However, during that trip to D.C. my perspective shifted.  Where would I be, where would the world be without agriculture?  I couldn’t imagine the answer.  And my passion grew.

2013-06-23 16.41.11

There is very little that we touch throughout the day that isn’t in some form or fashion related to agriculture.  In my 4-H Acres of Adventure class we discussed how agriculture is all around us.  Maybe you sleep on cotton sheets or use a cotton bath towel.  Who grew that cotton? Maybe your children colored with crayons made from soybean oil.  Who grew the soybeans?  Maybe you eat a cheeseburger for lunch.  Who raised that beef?  We went on to discuss the variety of jobs that are related to agriculture.  The number of jobs provided by the agriculture industry reaches far beyond a farmer in the field.  Can you imagine even a day without agriculture?

IMG_2457

That is why I am passionate.  We need agriculture.  It’s a part of us.  Today, on this 2014 National Agriculture Day I celebrate the contribution of agriculture in our everyday lives!

 

To learn more about National Ag Day click here.

For fun facts about agriculture click here.

An agriculture reading list can be found here.

The question is the engine

Catechism.

This is a word you probably don’t use on a daily basis.  You’ve heard it, I’m sure.  But what does it mean?

A catechism can be defined as a “series of questions and answers that systematically teach a body of information” (Hunt & Hunt, 1999).

What does this matter to me or even to you?  Well, I’m a parent.  And you possibly are a parent (or will be someday).  Deuteronomy 6 makes very clear that I should teach my children diligently His words.  Ephesians instructs us to bring our children up in the instruction of the Lord.

IMG_3942

I don’t know about you, but to me this is an intimidating task.  God has entrusted B and I with these children to teach them about God and point them to Him.  Noel Piper, in her book Treasuring God in our Traditions (I highly recommend it!) says, “God can only be inherited from God.”  This takes a lot of pressure off of me as a parent.  She goes on to say that, “We only become God’s children through our faith, not through our parents’ faith.” Again, some weight falls off my shoulders.  I cannot “save” my child.  I can’t force them to be God’s children.  God doesn’t expect me to do that and He knows I can’t do that.  However, I can, as Noel Piper says, “help them know him and understand him in ways that prepare them to believe in his name.” (Piper, 2007)

IMG_3964

So, what does this have to do with the catechism?  Well, I have found that a great way to focus my home is by teaching the catechism.  Let me tell you what this looks like for us.

I start with one catechism question.  There are several questions in the resource I’m using and there’s no exact science on which one I started with.  Honestly, I just started with the ones that seemed easiest for my kiddos.

Question:  “Who made you?”

Answer:  “God made me.”

I repeat the question numerous times to my children.  When I first start asking, I say both the question and the answer.  Eventually the children start answering it on their own.  This question is the engine for other activities that go on in our home.  Once I have a question that we are focusing on I tailor the books I read, the songs I sing, what I pray aloud with them, even the scripture I speak aloud.  Here’s some examples.

Song: God Made Me by Randall Goodgame (All of the slugs and bugs cds are wonderful!!!)

Book: God Made Me by Roger Priddy

Scripture:  Psalm 139:13-16, Genesis 1:27

A neat idea for older children when talking about the catechism of God creating us– would be to travel to the Creation Museum.  There are so many ways you can teach your children about this one question.  (P.S. After I wrote this post I found these preschool activities about the creation story) 

My kids are two years old so I have set a goal of teaching them at least five questions and answers throughout the year.  Each child is different and obviously depending on their ages you can even set a goal to learn one a week or one a month.  Below I am posting some other ideas, some of the resources that I use both in book form and websites. 

I am learning more every day how difficult it is to focus our children on God’s truth in the midst of the hustle and bustle of life.  But it is critical, non-negotiable.  So we have to find ways that work best for our families on how to execute this task.  I’ve included suggestions in this post–just ideas that I thought some might find helpful.  Sisters in Christ, fellow moms, we’re in this together!  If you have ideas please share by commenting on this post.  I would love to know what other moms are doing!

Ideas on how to reinforce the question

  • Post the question and answer somewhere in the home for all to see.
  • Plan a writing activity where the children have to express what they think about the question.
  • Provide an opportunity for the children to share the question and answer to others.
  • Create a hands on activity where the question takes the form of a visual to help them remember.

Resources (books)

Resources (websites)

Hunt, S., & Hunt, R. (1999). Big truths for little kids. (p. 5). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.
Piper, N. (2007). Treasuring god in our traditions. (pp. 17-18). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.