Archive for the ‘New Year’s’ Category.

It’s a good time to consider…How am I building a legacy of “sincere faith?”

When I hear the word “legacy,” I think of the godly women (in heaven now) who impacted my life…

  • Great Aunt Chris was not a mother herself but spiritually nurtured me by her example. Once homebound in her final years, she didn’t give up living for the Lord. She picked up the church directory, started making calls, and had only made it half way through when she already had enough women to come to her home weekly for Bible readings and discussions.
  • Grandmama Grace loved and supported missionaries, blessed the poor and forgotten with visits, and baked cookies for anyone who needed cheering up. 
    I couldn’t resist this cute picture of her from 1986.

  • Aunt Nelda taught innumerable children in Sunday School through the years, including me. In her later life, she continued to volunteer and serve through a ministry for the needy, despite her own serious health issues. Others would have sat at home rocking away their last days, but not this spunky lady!
  • My precious mother, Katharine, cherished God’s Word by spending time in it daily. She saved her tenderly worn Bibles with her various notations throughout so she could give them to her grandchildren.  Treasures!  (This little blip doesn’t do my mom justice.  Look for more about her closer to Mother’s Day.)

I believe the richness with which they lived out their days and continued to abundantly bless others was a direct result of years and years of walking with and growing in the Lord.

The same is true for my dear Aunts who are still kickin’ it!

  • Aunt Dea is ever the example of loving care-giving and servanthood as well as being interested in each and every one of her nieces and nephews (including the grand level.)
  • Auntie Di is a role model of looking for the good and speaking it out loud even in the hardest times, being a steadfast friend to others through decades and miles, and knowing how to have good, clean fun!

I’m a better person because of each of these ladies and am thankful to have a legacy like Timothy –
“I [Paul] am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you [Timothy] as well.”
2 Timothy 1:5

What if you didn’t have a godly legacy left to you?
Don’t despair, but let it begin with you! You can’t choose the family you were born into, but you can choose how to influence those around you!

Today, prayerfully consider how you can start or continue a legacy of “sincere faith” through your life!


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This New Year, how are you going to start your day as Mom or Dad?

2014 has been a year of conviction and changes for me as a parent.

As my kids get older, I am growing ever more conscious of the example I am setting for them, particularly in the area of my phone.   I’m not just talking about while driving, during dinner or family time, or while helping them with homework.  Those are all real concerns for sure.

However, what hit me the hardest was how my cell phone was negatively impacting the start of my day.
How easy it is to turn off the alarm on my phone and start checking e-mail and Facebook.

Before I knew it, I was running late for my day and in a grumpy mood because of all the things that had bombarded me before I even got out of bed! 

Anyone with me?

I had always used the excuse of not being a morning person to put off my devotional time until later in the day.  Yet, here I was, regularly devoting a good 15 minutes to a small rectangular metal box.
And we mock those days-of-old idol worshippers!


When discussing electronic limits for our kids, a friend of mine shared that they have a non-electronic rule for the first hour they are awake.  What a wise pattern to establish that will serve her children well both now and later!

It was important for her to explain to them (and sometimes still remind them), that the reason for this family guideline isn’t that she’s just a “mean” mom restricting their fun!  Rather, it’s to help them remember the principle of

This is the day the Lord has made.  We will rejoice and be glad in it.
Psalm 118:24

Hmmmm…we just read the words “rejoice” and “glad,” didn’t we? 
Sounds like fun to me…And it is!
Starting the day out with God’s Word and talking with Him is uplifting, encouraging, empowering, and a blessing….pretty much everything my previous routine of e-mail and Facebook is NOT!

So, fellow parents, as we think about this coming year, let’s consider how our daily patterns are impacting our lives and our children’s.   For me, that means more of putting down the iPhone after turning off the alarm and picking up my Bible.  

How about you?

A resource that has greatly helped my OCD self 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!   Anyone else feel like the author had you in mind with that subtitle?  I enjoyed taking my time on this book, only reading a chapter a week.  That helped the principles soak in and give me time to practice before moving on.

Disclaimer:  Since this goes to such a broad audience and many of y’all don’t know me personally, I feel it’s important to add a couple of points.  While I share what I regularly strive for, I am not legalistic about any of this.  Some days I have to check my e-mail first thing.  Some days (and pretty much every Saturday morning) the tv comes on first thing for the kids.  Some days I enjoy putting off my time with Lord because I know I have a great window of time later in the day.  Some days I regretfully don’t make time for the Lord.  You get the idea.  Life happens.  This blog is always supposed to be non-guilt and non-ritualism inducing from an imperfect parent (me!) who enjoys sharing what she’s learned with others (you!) in hopes that it helps in some way!  To God be the glory if it does!


Looking for a new way to get in the Word with your kids this year?
Or, want a way to pray for your kids about specific issues using God’s Word?
Consider Parenting with Scripture: A Topical Guide for Teachable Moments  as a topical family devotional guide or topical parenting prayer guide.

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New Beginnings, not Resolutions Series – Scripture Memory

Watch this and tell me you aren’t inspired…and have a smile on your face!   (Click on picture to connect to the YouTube video.)

Abby Psalm 23

This video went viral about 7 years ago.  I happen to know this sweet little girl!  She is one of my best friend’s daughters as well as one of my daughter’s best friends.   I want you to know that though this video is precious, there is nothing extraordinary about Abby or her mom.  (Sorry, Julie!)  What I mean by that is, she’s a normal little girl with a normal mom.  The difference is that this mom took time to teach her three year old a passage of Scripture. 

Did you catch the key phrases in that last sentence? 

Took the time. 
A three year old. 
A passage of Scripture…not just a verse. 

What I think this exemplifies is that we too often underestimate what we and our children are capable of. 

Whether Scripture memory is a new beginning for your family or this is just some encouragement to keep going, here are some suggestions that I hope can be helpful. 

15 Fabulous Verses to Memorize
These are the Scriptures that I find most useful in teachable moments that pop up.  It’s a great place to start so you and your child will have them on your hearts when the opportunities arise to refer to them.  Click on picture to link to the free printable download.

15 Fabulous Verses to Memorize
(If link isn’t working, this is available for free on the “Downloads” section of .  It’s also in the back of Parenting with Scripture.)

Memorization Methods –
These include techniques for toddlers through teens.  Click on picture to link to the free printable download.

Fun Memorization Methods
(If link isn’t working, this is available for free on the “Downloads” section of  It’s also in the back of Parenting with Scripture.)

Where else can you find verses to memorize?

– Find verses from topics you frequently deal with using Parenting with Scripture: A Topical Guide for Teachable Moments.

– Ask your child’s Sunday School teacher or your Children’s Minister.

– If your child goes to a church preschool, ask if their curriculum has verses that goes along with it.

Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.  Psalm 119:105

I have hidden your word in my heart…  Psalm 119:11a


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New Beginnings, not Resolutions Series – Prayer Partner

A number of years ago, I desired to join a group of moms that prayed for our preschool (like Moms in Touch).  The problem was, how would I fit that into my already busy schedule?  I just couldn’t add one more meeting to attend!  Nevertheless, I knew that I needed some accountability to pray for my family.  Why is it that I’m great at remembering to pray for a friend’s surgery or an extended family member in crisis?  But, I forget to regularly lift up the needs of those under my own roof?!  Please tell me I’m not the only one!

I was discussing this conundrum with a dear childhood friend, Amy, and we came up with a solution!  Prayer partners!  She had similar desires so we agreed to pray by phone weekly, most often on Wednesdays.  We e-mail each other our “praises and prayer requests” before our call.  We’ve found that preparing those ahead helps us have the time we need to prayerfully contemplate our family’s joys and concerns before being on the spot during the conversation.  Sometimes we enjoy catching up before we pray.  Other times we keep it short and sweet and run through the lists because of our time constraints.  We’ve been going for over 6 years now and what a joy it has been to pray through all the highs and lows.  It would be veeeeeeeery easy to have let this time slip away through the years as life tries to push it out of the way.  However, I know that both Amy and I are grateful to this time for not only our friendship, but also the incredible ways we’ve seen God work in our families through illness, job loss, unemployment, births, deaths, issues with our children, career changes, maaaaaaany decisions, and so forth.  Looking back through these years of praying, we can both say with certainty that in the good AND the bad, “God is good, all the time.  All the time, God is good!”

If this strikes a chord in your heart, maybe finding a prayer partner is a new beginning for you this year!

Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor:  If either of them falls down, one can help the other up.  But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.  Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves.  A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.  Ecclesiastes 4:9-10, 12

Helpful Tips for avoiding burn-out or it regularly turning into chat time:

  • Write out your purpose.
    Is this just for our families or for any prayer need we know of?
  • Write out guidelines
    How much will the total time be?
    How much time will each person share?
    How much time will be allow for prayer?
    Will we allow time for catch up or be careful to stick to prayer?

    This may sound too formal, especially if you are doing this with a good friend.  However, it simply helps everyone get on the same page and sets the stage for gentle reminders to be made if things are getting off track.

  • E-mail ahead the concise list of praises and prayer requests.  Thinking through things ahead allows for more prayer time.
  • Focus on praise as much as prayer.




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New beginnings, not resolutions – Family Devotions

When I introduced the series last week, I encouraged you to consider praying about how you could spiritual grow your family this new year. (  This post focuses on family devotions.  Following are ideas for all ages and levels of readiness…those who want to just get their toes wet, to those who want to dig in deep! 

Regular family devotions are some of our favorite times we share as a family.  They give us a chance to learn, discuss, and go deeper with each other and God’s Word.  If you aren’t sure where to start or are looking for something fresh and new, I have a few suggestions. 

For families with elementary – teens who want a topical approach:
Use Parenting with
Scripture: A Topical Guide for Teachable Moments as a family devotional guide and go through topical discussions and activities as a family.  Read this blog to take a peak into one of our family devotion times using this method –

For families with preschool – teens who want to integrate media and hands-on activities:
Try out  This page has 24 creative ideas for families with all ages. 

For families with babies – Kinder who want specific age appropriate Bible resources (birth-1, 1-2, etc):
Download this free list –

Bible Resource List by Age

For families with toddlers – elementary who want one simple (yet profound and excellent)  Bible story resource:
Try the Jesus Storybook Bible:  Every Story Whispers His Name.  
I had heard many families rave about this book, but thought my upper elementary kids were too old for it.  Then a blogger friend wrote, “In my ever so humble opinion, every human being on the planet needs to read it, because it clearly and plainly (in words that yes, even a child can understand) tells the story of the Bible.  The story of a baby sent from God to rescue the ones He so desperately loves.”  (  Now that we are reading it, I completely agree! 

For families of any age children who want to dig into God’s Word…the real thing…the actual Bible:
Simply pick up the Bible and read through it with your family.
  This is so simple, yet intimidating to many…including me!  But it’s not as daunting as you might think.  An excellent resource for this is Carrie Ward’s Together:  Growing Appetites for God’s Word.  It chronicles her journey of craving God’s work and tackling the seemingly crazy idea to read through the whole Bible out-loud with her preschoolers! 

I’m not sure I would even tackled this approach (I’m sad to say!) if it weren’t for our church body reading through the New Testament together last year.  This blog link shares a bit on how we got started.  It went great and I’m thrilled we did it! 

…I struggled to find a picture of a real family with all age kids as an image to represent this post.  I think that’s because there is no ideal or right way for family devotions to “look.”  Families are different, and therefore methods will be different!  Praise God for His Word meeting our unique families with whatever our needs are and however that looks.  Join the Durbin family devotional time and you will be amused that to see that our son is often hanging off the couch upside down. (No judging unless you’ve had a young boy.  We do discuss respect, but we also have to pick battles.)  And somehow, settling in for devotional time is a cue for our two dogs to go CRAZY acting like pin-balls around the room!   This sets off our animal nurturer daughter trying to get them to calm down.  Even with all that going on, we treasure these special times we carve out of the day. 

Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”  Matthew 4:4



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No, not New Year’s Resolutions time again!!!

Happy Almost New Year! 
Ugh.  That time of year people start talking about New Year’s Resolutions.  I bet one has already started floating through your mind.  The thing about resolutions is that we rarely stick to them…which brings guilt.  Who wants self-imposed guilt?!   

For that reason, I’m calling my January series, “New beginnings, not resolutions.”  The nice thing about beginning (or a new beginning if you are re-starting) one of these ideas is that you don’t have to decide a definite goal or end.  You can just begin and see how it goes. 

No pressure.  Not guilt.  No shame.  At any point in the year. 

Whether you desire to take a baby step or flying leap into one of these areas, give it a go!  It doesn’t hurt to try.  Just begin.  Then make a new beginning any time you need to. 

Beginnings or New Beginnings to prayerfully consider: 
*Family Devotionals
*Prayer Partner  to pray specifically for your family
*Scripture Memory  with your kids

Look for ideas on these topics coming to your inbox, Facebook, or Twitter feeds the next three Monday mornings. 

Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.  Psalm 34:8




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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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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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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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NT Reading Plan for the New Year!

Happy New Year! 
Each new year my husband and I take time to evaluate the spiritual goals of our family and what we want to try to accomplish as we head forth into the coming twelve months.  This year was easy!  Our church has embarked on a plan to read through the New Testament in a year.  Our Children’s Director has encouraged us to either read aloud or help our children keep up with the reading so that everyone, young and old, will be engaged in this worthwhile process.  Though we have gone through just about every “children’s Bible story book” out there with our kids and have obviously read select verses or passages from the Bible, we’ve never taken upon such a challenge as to read straight through.  I’ve always been wistful of the days gone by when Papa would gather the children around the hearth and read God’s Word, straight from the Good Book.  So why has it never occurred to me that we could still do that?  Who knows?!  I guess it’s just that sometimes the most obvious things don’t occur to us until they hit us in the face!  Such was this year with the reading plan!  As our children’s director said, speaking of her first grade son, “How cool will it be that he, at eight years old, will be able to say that he’s heard the whole New Testament by the end of the year!”  Her intention was not that this would be a point of bragging.  Rather, that the Bible will have become accessible to him in a way that is not as often the case for our youngsters these days.  I remember as a college student, how daunting it seemed when I started reading the Bible through for the first time.  My hope for our children is that whenever they decide to take that challenge upon themselves, they will be more confident because of this year’s experience.  For now, we’re excited to see what fruitfulness God’s brings through the reading and hearing of His word through our NT2012 plan!

If you would like jump on in personally or with your family, check out  This details the NT read through we are doing, but the site offers many other reading plans and multiple ways to customize them. 

Happy Reading!

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