Archive for January 2013

Prepping to Parent with Scripture Through Lent

I did not grow up in a denomination that observed Lent and it is still not a focus in the denomination we attend today.  However, because I could see the value in observing it as a way to prepare for Easter, I decided to find ways into incorporate Lenten traditions into our parenting.  These are the ideas and resources that have been helpful and become special to our family.   This year, Lent begins on Wednesday, February 13th.  Since that’s coming quickly, I wanted to go ahead and post this blog in case you want to have the materials ready for your family. 

Lenten Coloring Calendar – Particularly when my children were younger, this calendar was useful and fun in helping them understand the time frame for Lent.  See the website listed and click on the link above the same picture on that blog to download a printable.

Tree –
Our favorite tradition is the Lenten Tree.  It works well with young children because of the tactile/visual aspect and has continued to be a blessing to our entire family as the children have grown.   The main resource needed for this is the book, The Lenten Tree: Devotions for Children and Adults to Prepare for Christ’s Death and His Resurrection, by Dean Lambert Smith.  There are separate devotions for adults and children for the 40 days, and each devotion theme has a corresponding ornament option .

Simple Ornaments Idea – This book can be used simply as a devotion, but to make it more interactive for the kids, there are ornaments to represent the Bible theme for each day.  A simple way to create the ornaments is to photocopy the graphic on the title page for each day’s devotional (see picture below).  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.


Ornament Swap Idea – A more elaborate version of ornaments for the tree involves an ornament swap with friends to collect the 40 different ornaments needed (such as the wooden key chain fish in the picture above).  For more information on the swap, see my post from last year.

Tree Ideas – Natural branches from outside and secured in a large vase would be lovely.  Or, you might have a small version of an artificial tree from Christmas that you could use.  If not, this wooden tree that we purchased is inexpensive and does the trick!


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Parenting with Scripture through MLK Day – Prejudice

I love it when people share their ideas for parenting with Scripture!  I think it’s helpful for all of us to see how the Lord leads different families to incorporate His truth into our daily lives in unique ways.  This post has ideas from church friend, Donna VanEerden, and how she’s incorporating parenting with Scripture into Martin Luther King Day.  Donna has children ranging from preschool through upper elementary. 

*Listen/watch Dr. Martin Luther King’s famous ”I Have a Dream” speech.

*Read God Made Us One by One by Christine Adams
(I’m putting this in my Amazon cart so I’ll have it for next year!)

MLKBook*Discuss the topic ”Prejudice” using Parenting with Scripture:  A Topical Guide for Teachable Moments by Kara Durbin (My book!)

*Color a picture of something that you have learned from someone who is different.  Write “Love one another.  John 13:34″ on the page.

I’m excited about using Donna’s ideas for our family devotional time this evening and hope you are too!  I’d love to hear your ideas for Parenting with Scripture, either through planned activities like this, or teachable moments that pop up unexpectedly.  Please share!

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PLD (Personal Life Development) – Kid Style

New Year’s week, I blogged about taking time for looking back over the past year and looking forward to the new year in terms of intentional parenting.  Our pastors encourage our church family to do a PLD (Personal Life Development) every year.  This entails reflecting upon and answering the following questions specifically.
*What I’ve learned about God this year:
*Ways in which God has grown me this past year:
*Ways I need to grow as His disciple (consider all areas…spiritual growth, marriage, parenting, health, etc):
*My action plan to grow this year :

However, I had never considered involving my children in this process until a friend leading a group of girls from our church, challenged the girls to give it a try.  I knew I would be met with silence if I asked my daughter the questions she suggested (see below).  So I asked if the friend had suggestions of how to overcome that.  She said that the girls could have their moms e-mail her their answers as a way of accountability for the process.  Bingo!  Always helps to have someone else asking your child to stretch.  When we got in the car leaving that meeting, I asked my daughter the questions.  Yep…complete silence.  And no wonder!  I remember that my first PLD was a bit daunting and it tremendously helped for me to hear examples as we shared them with our small group.   I encouraged my daughter to be thinking about the questions and that we would discuss them more during our family devotional times that evening and the next.  We started that night’s family devotional with me sharing some of my answers to my PLD.  The we all brainstormed some of the good and hard things that happened with our family throughout 2012.  I prepared them that the following night the kids needed to be ready answer questions on their own.  When that time came, I had prepared clipboards for my 2nd and 4th grader with the questions below, including space for them to write.  My husband and I continued to work on our PLDs on our laptops.  We allowed fifteen minutes and told the kids that if they finished early, they could talk to God about the list.  (Speaking of, we did start out our time with asking God to touch our hearts with what He wanted us to reflect upon for the past and future.)  The kids did have a few questions as they worked, but for the most part we tried to keep the time quiet so everyone could truly think.

PLD (Personal Life Development) Kid Style – January 2013
Best of 2012:

Hardest part of 2012:

What I learned about God last year:

How I would like to grow in God this year: 

After the time was up, we all went around and shared what we had written.  We encouraged positive feedback or follow-up questions as each of us read our PLDs out loud.  While the kids’ answers were short and sweet, they generated some fabulous discussions and insights.  I wrote these down below the kids’ answers so they could be documented and saved for revisiting next year.

For example, my son said the best part of 2012 was being surprised with an amazingly generous Lego set from his grandparents for Christmas.  To dig deeper, I followed that with “What does God want you to think about that?”  He sweetly answered, “God wants me to be thankful that I have loving grandparents who spent that much money.” 

For the hardest part of 2012 he mentioned breaking his arm.  Our follow up question was, “What did you learn from that?”  He wasn’t sure, so we all reminded him how he persevered and tried to do everything on his own.  He didn’t ever use his broken arm as an excuse.  And, he had a good attitude even though it caused him to miss out on some fun activities.  What a precious time for our family to pour those affirming words over that little boy we love so much!

My daughter mentioned that she would like to spend more time with God as her way she’d like to grow in God this year.  We encouraged her that the answer was a wonderful thing, but asked her how she specifically planned to do that.  This brought on a great discussion about how we all often have good intentions.  But, if we don’t have an action plan, we rarely follow through.  As we talked, she remembered a devotional guide she wanted to finish and decided that would be her plan. 

I hope these examples will help you and your family, just as the challenge and accountability from my mom friend helped me.  And, don’t forget to hang on to these for next year.  Our family plans to continue it as an annual tradition…WITH the kids!  My favorite part of my PLD process each year is reading through my PLDs of past years.  I know it will be special for our kiddos to have these yearly records of their growth and God’s goodness as well!

Past and Future - Two-Way Street Sign

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Parenting with Scripture Teachable Moment – Responsibility/Trust

A friend recently shared this teachable moment example with me…Parenting with Scripture in action!

The big kids were playing with a marble run that was not safe to have out when the baby was up, so I asked them to race one more time and then put all the marbles away.  I then left the room to go change the toddler and when I got back they had not stopped playing with the marbles.  My daughter tried to put the blame on her brother. I wanted to find some verses to show them the importance of being responsible to do what I trusted them to do and taking responsibility for your actions.  I found several appropriate verses under “responsibility” and “trust” (in Parenting with Scripture).  I asked them to look up and copy those verses and then to write why they thought I picked those verses for them.   It led to a good discussion about being faithful in the small things in order to be trusted with greater responsibilities later. (Like driving the car someday!)  We also talked about the fact that Adam’s response to God was true (Eve had given him the fruit), but it was not the appropriate response (taking responsibility for his own choice).  I think showing them these things from God’s word made a much better impact than another lecture from mom!

As we head through 2013, let’s ask God to give us eyes to see teachable moments and thank Him for giving us His Word to help us make the most of them!

Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much.  
Luke 16:10

Marble Works

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Note to e-mail subscribers…

Happy New Year!  My computer decided to send today’s post without my permission before it was complete! 
To see the full post, please click here.   🙂

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Not Your Typical New Year’s Resolution…Purposeful Parenting with Scripture!

While the typical health related New Year’s resolutions are good, why not consider a different focus for this year…purposeful parenting with Scripture!  I know that can sound vague or intimidating, so let’s break it down.  Start by prayerfully asking yourself the following two questions…

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

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

After considering these questions, write out an action plan.  This will vary depending on the age, ability, and needs of your family, but here are some further suggestions to help you formulate your plan.  

*A spiritual growth plan for the year for your family might include:
– resources you, your children, and family will use  (consider Parenting with Scripture as a family devotional Guide.)
– verses to memorize with a plan to stay on track 
If you need a place to start, see the Downloads tab at and look for 15 Fabulous Verses and Fun Memorization Methods…or pick topical Scriptures from Parenting with Scripture based on your family’s needs.
– key principles/facts/values  I want to focus on teaching my children this year (such as the books of the Bible, character traits, etc.)
– verse(s) to pray for my children this year (maybe one key verse or topical verses from Parenting with Scripture.)

*What books will I, as a parent, read this year to educate myself in order to better equip the spiritual upbringing of my children?

*How can I help keep my family on track with our spiritual growth plan?   Set reminders on my i-phone, make notes throughout the year in my calendar, etc?happy-new-year-20131-257x398

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