Archive for February 2012

A to Z Prayers

A fun way to change up family prayer time is to pray through the alphabet. Go around the table, car, or wherever you are, with each person taking the next letter in the alphabet to begin the word (adjectives or phrases count to make it easier).  Each time you pray this way, try focusing on a different theme –
*Thank you, God, for…
*Lord, we praise You because You are…
*Heavenly Father, please help…


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How to mark parenting books for easy future reference –

Being Type A, I find that I develop a system for just about everything I do.  That includes marking books so that I can easily go back through them to find the content I found helpful without having to re-read the whole book.  As I read, I underline key points and then write one of these key words at the top corner of the page.


That way, when I finish the book, I can go back through and plan out how to put the “do’s” into practice, make a list of the things to “get,”  remember quotes for future reference, and know which parts I found helpful enough to want to re-read for the future.  Often, these re-read chunks are quite lengthy.  Therefore instead of underlining the whole thing, I simply draw a line down the side of the portion.  This is faster and cleaner looking than multiple underlines.

Another purpose for making these notations in the book is sharing the information with my husband.  After I finish a helpful book, we plan a time for me to review the information with him.  Together, we can discuss what those action items look like for our family and get on the same page for implementing them.

Here’s a visual from the book I’m currently reading –

Book Review

If you have any tips for how to apply this system to e-books, please let me know!  This is one of the things that keeps me from converting!

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Eating humble pie

If I had just remembered that “Pride comes before the fall” then I would have known Humble Pie would have been on the menu for yesterday. Here’s how it happened…

I spent all Thursday evening getting my ducks in a row because I would be gone all day Friday helping out my sister who was having knee surgery.  Nothing like being “off duty” for a day to bring into perspective the myriad of things moms do on a daily basis to help the household run smoothly.  I set about having everything perfectly organized so that it would go seamlessly for my hubby and kids as he did the morning routine and got them to school Friday.  I made quite the production of going through everything with Tim and making sure that he saw all my wonderful efforts to ensure the morning’s success.  I might as well have patted myself on the back!  And, here’s the big red flag that could have had “Pridefulness!” emblazoned on it…I stooped so low as to point out (in subtle ways) that he probably would have dropped the ball on some things had I not had things under such control.  Ouch!  

Friday morning comes and as I’m on the road at 4:30 AM (my sister had to be at the surgery center at 5:45 AM for prep!) I realize I’ve already messed up.  I had forgotten to lay out alternate clothes for my daughter who would be rock climbing with a friend after school.  Drat!  So much for my “perfectly” orchestrated morning for Tim.  So, I set my alarm to send him a text at a more reasonable time that morning to include instructions along with my first apology for how I had acted the night before. 

About 8:10 AM was when the whole humble pie came flying right toward my face and I realized there was nothing to do but let it smack me and for me swallow down the remains!  I get a call from Tim and ask how carpool went.  He said it went fine, but asked if Friday was indeed “free dress” day (my children go to a school where they where uniforms).   UH OH!  That e-mail earlier in the week must have said “spirit shirt day” which is distinctly different from “free dress day.”   SMACK!  With a bruised pride and choking on the pie, I profusely apologize to Tim for my error and humbly ask if he had time to run home (20 minutes), grab the appropriate clothes, and take them back to the school (another 20 minutes) before heading on to work.  Thankfully he did, as we both knew our children would not be pleased with me for this mistake.

As I sat in the surgery waiting room, it occurred to me that I not only needed to apologize to Tim, but the kids.  Mistakes happen and we all understand that.  But they had heard me pridefully going over the plan with their Daddy in a less than respectful way.  They needed to hear from me that I confessed my pride and apologized to Tim.  It was a perfect teachable moment to remind them that nobody is perfect, even Mom and Dad!   But aren’t we thankful that we have a Heavenly Father who loves us and forgives us no matter what…even when we’ve got Humble Pie oozing down our faces! 

Humble Pie

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Lenten Tree

Last year, I received an e-mail  invitation that forever changed the way my family will observe Lent.  Not having ever been in a church where Lent was emphasized, I was floundering as how to make Lent a special part of our family tradition of preparing for Easter.  A lady at our church e-mailed a bunch of moms asking if we wanted to go in together on a Lenten Tree ornament swap.  The idea was based on this book –

The Lenten Tree by Dean Lambert Smith.  Click on picture to link to Amazon…

The book has 41 short devotionals, each with a corresponding image, for the days leading up to Easter and Easter Day.  The way the swap works is that each person takes one of the images and buys or makes 41 of the same ornaments.  For example, I picked the symbol for Day 19, which is a fish, and bought 41 key chains from Oriental Trading Company ( that work perfectly as ornaments.


On the day of the swap, each person brought her 41 ornaments.  The organizer  had 41 spaces on the floor labeled with everyone’s names.  Each person went around and put one of their 41 ornaments in each pile.  After everyone is done, every person checks her own pile to make sure she has each of the 41 different ornaments.  Voila!  All of us left with a complete set for the Lenten Tree!

Swap Tips – We actually didn’t have 41 people participate.  Several people decided to take on a couple of the slots so they would have one to keep and one to give away.  After all of us who wanted to participate had signed up, there were still about 6 slots left.  The organizer purchased the supplies for these ornaments and we all chipped in and helped make them during the swap.   With all of us working, it didn’t take us long to assemble the 41 of each of them and add them to the piles.

Non-Swap Version – An easy way to still have ornaments for your tree without the swap, is to photocopy the graphic on the title page for each day’s devotional (see above picture).  Cut them out and let your children color them.  Then punch a holes in them and hang with ribbons or yarn.  If you want to keep these, consider laminating them.

What to Use for a Tree – I’m sure there are lots of creative ideas for this.  But, I wanted something inexpensive, easy to store, and sturdy enough to hold the 41 ornaments.  I found the perfect one at  Several other swappers and I ordered them together in order to save on shipping.

Lenten Tree

What a special time this was for our family last year!
 We look forward to continuing the tradition this year and for years to come.

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Being Deliberate in Parenting with Scripture…

Valentine’s week isn’t exactly the new year, but it’s still close enough to take a quick look back at the past year and re-evaluate how best to move forward.  Each new year, our pastor encourages us to do a PLD (Personal Life Development) evaluation.  It’s one of those things I never exactly look forward to doing (hence my procrastination to mid-February!) but am always blessed when I finally take the time to do it.   The PLD is simply using a short list of thought-provoking questions to help you think through the last year and get a positive and deliberate plan for where you are headed in the future.

PLD (Personal Life Development) Questions

What some things I’ve learned about God this past year?

What are evidence of my growth this past year?

What are some things I’ve learned about myself this year or areas where I need to develop and grow?

What is my specific growth plan for this coming year?

I like to add my own section of questions relating to goals of Parenting with Scripture:

What worked and didn’t work last year with the spiritual training of my children?

What is our spiritual growth plan for our children this year in general and  also related to individual and/or family devotional times?

The effect this has on our family is priceless.  Though I have a general idea of where we’ve been and are headed, there’s nothing like getting it out on paper (or computer file!) to solidify the plan.  Writing it out causes me to be deliberate rather than haphazard.  Keeping a computer file of each year’s PLD allows me to go back and look at past years and see how God has worked in my life and family.   I also mark my calendar for early summer each year to take a look back at the current year’s PLD and make sure we’re still on track.  I don’t want these important aspects of my life and my parenting to be like those new year’s resolutions that quickly fizzle. 

So even though it’s mid-February, I encourage you to be deliberate!  Better late than never!

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I can write in my Bible?!

We raise our children to take care of books and not color in them.  So it was surprising for my kids to learn at an early age, that they could actually write/color in their Bible….with purpose, that is!  When they first received their chapter and verse Bibles, we also bought special Bible highlighters for them.    These were easier for them to use than underlining with pencil or pen.  Because I didn’t want them to go crazy with “coloring” or lose the highlighters, I kept them for them in a safe place.  

I’ll be honest and say that as the years have passed we haven’t been super consistent with marking all the verses that they’ve learned.  But, even with what we’ve done, it’s brought about the joy of familiarity with the Bible.  I remember as a child thinking the Bible was such a huge book!  However, the more I marked verses and wrote topics beside them, the more alive that book became.  Just as I did as a child, now my kids are also flipping through their Bibles exclaiming, “Oh, I remember when I learned that verse!”   

Those markings help that “Big Book” come alive!

You can tell from the markings in the picture, that it was from when my son was a preschooler. 
As your children get older, encourage them to also write topic words beside them. 


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Valentine Mailboxes

Love this idea from my ever creative friend, Elizabeth!

“I purchased the little tin mailboxes years ago in the dollar bin at Target.  The kids decorated their own box with pictures, stickers, and gems.  All family members are encouraged to leave each other little love notes and treats too. We put the little flags up when we have left something for someone to find.  My oldest has already been having LOTS of fun with this.  He even left me cash the other morning!   I try to have lots of little papers/notes they can use to create “mail.”     A bonus is that this helps with writing skills!  But more importantly, it teaches about thoughtfulness and what it means to do small things to make someone else smile.  Closer to Valentine’s Day, I plan to write “love notes” from God to them along with some sweet treats.  I will pick verses about love and substitute their names in them.”


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