Archive for January 2015

Do you live in a neighborhood or strangerhood?

Do you live in a neighborhood or strangerhood?

Our pastor has often used the apt term “strangerhood” in referring to the way many streets have become.

If you are in a neighborhood where people know each other, are there for each other, and even have fun with each other, then count your blessings.

If you’re realizing that your block is more of a strangerhood, then consider being the catalyst for change!

We lived in our old neighborhood for 13 years.  For the first few years, we didn’t know very many neighbors.

Then, our subdivision had a rash of burglaries.

Our local police department encouraged us to develop a neighborhood watch program.  Because everyone was concerned about our neighborhood’s safety, there was heightened interest in getting to know one another.

I’m sad that it took a serious problem to bring us together, but thankful for the resulting relationships and connectivity.

Think about what your family enjoys & ways the kids can help and be a part. 
FOR US, that’s looked a number of different ways throughout the years:
* Baked holiday goodies dropped on doorsteps.  My kids love delivering them!
* Ice Cream Sundae Sunday party one summer evening.
* Neighborhood Night Out gatherings in a common area or our front yard.
* New Neighbor Welcomes.  For more, click here.
* Aaaaaaannnnnnnndddddd, our all time fave, the ANNUAL NEIGHBORHOOD GROUNDHOG DAY PARTY!

Yes, you read correctly.  Groundhog Day Party.  Why not?  Our family loves finding ways to celebrate and creating traditions.  So here we are 6 years later, continuing our neighborhood Groundhog Day Party and I’m about to run out of new ideas.  There are only so many ways you can get creative with these furry little critters and their shadows!
groundhog 1

The purpose of this admittedly odd tradition is not to glorify rodents or predictions.  We express that it’s just silly fun.  Rather, we relish the bond it’s creating for our neighborhood families.  After all, not many kids will be able to say they grew up going to annual groundhog day parties!

This “groundhog” snack from last year isn’t the cutest idea out there.
But it certainly was the easiest because the kids made it instead of me = part of the fun!


It’s also helpful for me to remember that WE ARE THE CHURCH wherever we live.
Consider this verse…

From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth;
and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. 
Acts 17:26

Pretty awesome when you think about it, isn’t it?!
God has each of us uniquely where we are for a reason.


What is your family doing to help make where you live more of a neighborhood than a strangerhood?

For more verses on topics like hospitality, that can help you teach these principles to your kids, don’t forget to reference your copy of Parenting with Scripture: A Topical Guide for Teachable Moments.

Comments Off on Do you live in a neighborhood or strangerhood?   Posted In:     |    Written By: Kara Durbin
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What is your child’s biggest temptation and what are you doing about it?

You know your child better than anyone else.  You know his strengths and weaknesses.
What have you found to be his biggest temptation? 

You know,
…the one that is constantly rearing it’s ugly head!
…the issue that he gets in trouble for over and over and never seems to learn.
…the one that breaks your heart because you know he should know better and yet still struggles.
Yeah, that one.  We all have one or more.  Adults and kids alike.

So, what are you doing about it on behalf of your child? 
Are you
…pretending it’s not so bad?
…sticking your head in the sand and hoping it will just go away?
…at your wit’s end with trying everything you know to no avail?

Are you
…asking God to work in his heart in a way that nobody else can touch?
…praying topical Scripture on his behalf?  Resource:  Parenting with Scripture: A Topical Guide for Teachable Moments
…asking God for him to get caught at every turn so he has opportunities to learn while he is younger and the consequences are less harsh?
…petitioning the Lord to somehow use this weakness for His glory?

I love this verse that follows the “Armor of God” and
is listed in the “See Also” verses under”Prayer” in
Parenting with Scripture: A Topical Guide for Teachable Moments.

And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.
With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. 

Ephesians 6:18
 temptationPhoto: Creative Commons – Google

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When nothing works with your toddler, teen, or in between, what do you do?

Have you ever been at your wit’s end with your kid?

That’s a silly question.  Let me rephrase…

How many times have you been at your wit’s end with your kid?

I’ve found that too often it isn’t until after I’ve tried everything that I hit my knees and pray about the issue. 

Why do we neglect what we should do from the get go?
I’m not sure, but after so many rounds I can say that I’m finally starting to remember to go to the Lord sooner rather than waiting until I’m out of human options!

Years ago, I asked a godly mom (my wonderful cousin, Donna Martin) of 3 teens what her best tool in her spiritual parenting toolbelt was.

Her answer surprised me.

She said it’s praying specific topical Scriptures for her teens.
The reason, she explained, is that she knew even if she couldn’t get through to her teens on a subject, she knew she could always get through to God. 

WOW!  That’s true of toddlers, teens, and in between isn’t it?!

Quick example:  You know your child is struggling with (or will encounter) peer pressure.  Look up the topic “Peer Pressure” in Parenting with Scripture: a Topical Guide for Teachable Moments.  There you will find Exodus 23:2 and can reword it as a prayer.  “Dear Lord, please help Sarah not follow the crowd in doing wrong.”

What topic do you need to be in prayer about for your child?
Let’s not wait ’til we get to our wit’s end to find those related Scriptures and get prayin’!


Photo:  Zazzle Product

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5 ways to help you “be IN the moment” with your kids!

Being IN the moment is something I struggle with, but am diligently working on.  “Struggle with” is putting it mildly.  True confession time (cringe…I’m going to take a deep breath and share this because I know I’m not the only one!):  My struggle with anxiety and borderline OCD is intense enough to need medication.  My wise doctor made me go to counseling for it, too.

I also know I’m not the only parent that has the magnetic pull to look at the smart phone or who feels the often overwhelming burden of a never-ending to-do list.    So, let’s look at some techniques and Scripture we can use to combat that.

At first glance, some of these may seem simple and easily dismissible.
However, as with most things in life, they are easier said than done.
These are some of the helpful things I’ve learned…

1.  Stop and take deep breaths, several times a day.

“Be still and know that I am God.”
  Psalm 46:10

2.  Take a few minutes each day to free yourself from all distraction and clear your head. 
This can look different for everyone, depending on what’s most helpful for you.  For me, one of my “refreshments” is walking my dogs. The fresh air does me good and it reminds me that there’s a world outside all the other things I’m trying to get done.  It is a fight to keep from immediately turning on the podcasts I love listening to during the walks.  But, I make myself spend at least the first few minutes taking those deep breaths and just clearing my head.  Sometimes, I enjoy using the rest of the walk lifting things up to the Lord in prayer as they pop into my mind.   When I don’t have as much time, I find that even a few minutes on my patio accomplishes the same thing.  What’s your refreshment?

“Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?  Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life.”   Matthew 6:26-27

3.  Be conscious of being IN the moment. 
The beauty is in the simplicity of this.  Whenever I am feeling anxious, overwhelmed, or distracted, I remind myself to take another deep break and enjoy the moment I’m IN!  Even though it seems so obvious, this is a newer technique for me and is truly helping decrease my stress level and increasing joy in life.

This is the day which the Lord has made; Let us rejoice and be glad in it.  Psalm 118:24
(To me, this is the Biblical version of “stop and smell the roses.”)

4.  Stay off the smart phone as much as possible.
I was going to write, “Stay off the smart phone when others are around” but broadened it because of how I’ve seen my phone to distract my brain in general.    Not being glued to our phone makes it easy to appreciate the bigger moments with our kids.  However, when my kids are all grown up, I don’t want to regret that I didn’t make effort to enjoy the little moments too.

I am a work in progress with this one.  It truly is a battle for me as I can tend to be OCD with checking e-mail, FB, weather, news, etc. on my phone.  NOT the example I want to be for my kids nor a good habit for my already too distracted brain!  A resource that I’ve been working my way through that is convicting, incredibly practical, and helping me along this journey is Hands Free Mama: A Guide to Putting Down the Phone, Burning the To-Do List, and Letting Go of Perfection to Grasp What Really Matters!  by Rachel Stafford.  Dads, a mom may have written it, but we can all learn from her realizations, truths, and tips!

No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.  1 Corinthians 10:13

I will not be mastered by anything.  1 Corinthians 6:12b

5.  Claim a helpful Scriptures!
I confess that distraction and stress are weakness of mine as I remember and draw from the power of these verses in this post.

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
2 Corinthians 12:9

What’s your best technique for remembering to be “in the moment” with your kids?


Don’t forget to turn to your copy of
Parenting with Scripture: A Topical Guide for Teachable Moments
when different issues pop up!
Most of the verses from today are in there under a variety of topics!



Comments Off on 5 ways to help you “be IN the moment” with your kids!   Posted In:     |    Written By: Kara Durbin
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