Archive for the ‘Questions to Ask Yourself’ Category.

How do my children view growing old?

How do my children view growing old?

Do I want them to have a negative/denial perspective?
“I’m 29!” says the 50-60 year old woman for whom the birthday isn’t exactly happy.

Or, do I want them to have a positive outlook on aging?
“I’m not getting old, just older!” says my 83 year old dad.

For kids, getting older is fun!  It means parties, cake, presents, and privileges. However, it’s helpful for me to remember that they will grow older some day and they are watching my example of how I treat aging.

I want to treat each birthday as a celebration of another year gifted with life and gained wisdom!  I want that day to be a celebration of what’s positive about growing older, not negative.  I want to continue using each year God blesses me with to live my days for His glory!  That’s what I want my kids to see!

A couple of amazing godly women helped shape my positive view of aging, so I know first hand how powerful living examples can be…

My Great Aunt Christine became homebound in her 80s and decided that since she couldn’t get out, she’d bless others from her home.  She picked up the church directory and before she got half way through, she had enough women who wanted to join her in weekly Bible readings and discussion at her house.

This is a picture of Aunt Chris during that time span, holding baby Kalli.


My mom, who despite significant health decline her last year of life and barely being able to breathe because of her rare lung disease, was determined to keep teaching 3rd grade Sunday School and serving weekly at the local food shelter, among other things.  She wasn’t about to sit and rock away her days.  She was going to give life all she had until she simply couldn’t anymore…and by golly, she did!

Here’s Mom, showing she’s not too old to have some preschool fun on the floor with her newest grandchild!


This is a tough picture for me to see because this was during the year of her decline.  She already wasn’t feeling well, but she wasn’t about to let the chance pass to crawl into Kalli’s bed and share her nightly devotional time. 


 Those were the positive examples, however….
Sadly, I also had people in my life who lived completely the opposite way in terms of attitude toward aging and gusto for life in later years.  Are they as memorable?  Are they people I would want to be like?  Did others want to be around them?  Unfortunately, no.

When I turned 40 a couple of years ago, we had a great drive time family discussion and impromptu Bible study on what God has to say about aging. 

The righteous will flourish like a palm tree,
    they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon;
planted in the house of the Lord,
    they will flourish in the courts of our God.
They will still bear fruit in old age,
    they will stay fresh and green,
proclaiming, “The Lord is upright;
    he is my Rock, and there is no wickedness in him.”
Psalm 92:12-15

The glory of young men is their strength, gray hair the splendor of the old. 
Proverbs 20:29

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.
2 Corinthians 4:16

Thank you, Lord,
for each year you give us on this earth.
Though we long for our eternal home,
may we head into each new year with the perspective of it being a gift from You.
May we continue being a light to others and
may we give back to You as we seek to glorify You in all we do.

Make your own Teachable Moment:
On your birthday this year, consider making a teachable moment with your family.  Enjoy thinking about the people your family knows that have aged the way you want to emulate and what it is you appreciate about them.

As I write this, it’s occurring to me that none of those things have to do with outward beauty.  Our society is so caught up in looking young and beautiful no matter the age or cost.  But when I stop to think about the older people I admire, it has nothing to do with external.  I find them beautiful because of their heart.  What a rich birthday dinner discussion this could be!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, to you, whenever yours happens to be! 
I’m thankful for you, dear reader!  🙂

For more teachable moments, refer to your copy of Parenting with Scripture: A Topical Guide for Teachable Moments.

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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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Do you and your kids know the Secret of Being Content?

Being content certainly makes all-year-long Thanksgiving easier.  So what’s the secret?

The portion of the verse “I have learned the secret of being content” was floating around my head the other day and made me realize I needed to check the passage to make sure I knew what the secret is!

How many of us are familiar with both Philippians 4:12 and Philippians 4:13 separately, but have never tied those two together in our heads?  Please tell me I’m not the only one!

I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.  I can do all this through him who gives me strength.  Philippians 4:12-13

Try this discussion at your next family meal or devotional time:

1- Ask your kid if he knows the secret of being content and read Philippians 4:12-13.

My kids easily learned this verse from the Seeds Family Worship: Power of Encouragement CD we listen to in carpool every Wednesday.  You can hear a sample of the song, buy the CD, or download the single MP3 through the link.  Also, you can read here about how to incorporate Scripture through music into your drive time.

2 – Discuss ways your family members struggle to be content. 

3 – Now, read together this passage and discuss what Paul, the writer of Philippians, had been through.

*Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one.
*Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was pelted with stones,
*three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea,
*I have been constantly on the move.
*I have been in danger from rivers,
*in danger from bandits,
*in danger from my fellow Jews, in danger from Gentiles;
*in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea;
*and in danger from false believers.
*I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep;
*I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food;
*I have been cold and naked.
*Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches.
2 Corinthians 11:24-28

4 – Kinda puts things into perspective doesn’t it?!  If Paul can be content, surely we can too!

Are you going to ask your family if they know the secret of being content?
I bet you’ll have a great discussion!

Click here or on the image if you are interested in purchasing this beautiful wall art or similar items from Wise Décor.


For more verses, discussion questions, and Take Action ideas on the topic of “Contentment,”
see your copy of Parenting with Scripture: A Topical Guide for Teachable Moments.

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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.

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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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Do my kids fight & Do I ever feel like a parent fail?

Um yeah, they’re normal kids and I’m a normal mom!

A friend asked me if my kids ever fight.
Then she asked what I do about it. 
I rattled off some techniques that usually work and the conversation moved on.

Then came the HOT DOG FIGHT!
This one may live in infamy.

Fight breaks out over last hot dog after an already rattling day.  Siblings come up with every imaginable argument.  After sitting back 5 minutes and hoping things would work themselves out, mom enters…that would be me.

Mom tries the “I want y’all to sit down and use kind words and nice tones and don’t come back until you’ve worked it out” method.  5 more minutes pass.

Mom tries the “throw in every related Bible verse in the book” method to calm things down.  5 more minutes.

Mom tries the “life’s not fair” speech.  Aaaaand, 5 more minutes.

Mom realizes that 20 minutes of her life has been spent with the unfruitful goal of her children working out a reasonable agreement over a hot dog.  Instead, there are literally tears.
Ridiculous!  NOBODY GETS THE  (tempted to curse here) HOT DOG!

A while later, one kid tries to twist Mom’s words to weasel into getting it!
Mom’s head is in danger of exploding!

Dad comes home and Mom unloads the story.

Dad calls kids into the kitchen where  the table is set with two plates and the hot dog halved on them.

Kids think they are getting to share the hot dog (though they are still fighting about who really should get the whole hot dog)!

Dad says they are going to learn to “honor one another above [them]selves” (Romans 12:10)….

BRILLIANT!  Perfect logical consequence!

Lesson for the defeated me?
Sometimes we parents try every trick in the book and still fail…and you know what?  That’s ok!

This was several months ago and we can all now laugh about it.  And, I did obtain their permission to share this picture and story.  I am very careful to protect my children’s privacy and am conscious that everything I post will be forever “out there.”  Therefore, I try to limit or avoid the posts that could embarrass or undermine my kids.  Please know that we are not a perfect family by any means.  I’m bumbling along in parenting with the rest of you and my kids, husband, and I all make mistakes, do dumb things, etc.  So be encouraged…We’re all in this crazy world together just doing the best we can with our faithful Father’s help!

hot dog

For more Scriptures and ideas from the topic of Self-Centered,
see Parenting with Scripture: a Topical Guide for Teachable Moments.

Aren’t you glad to remember that every family is “normal?”  Whatever “normal” is!  Ha!  🙂 


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Want a tip that can positively impact your child’s behavior and self-image?

Almost everyone parents with “self-fulfilling prophecies,” even those unaware of it.
It can be a powerful positive or negative force in your child’s life
has the potential to dramatically change your child’s behavior and self-image….
for good or for bad

What exactly is a self-fulfilling prophecy, what are some examples, and how can parents use it for good?

Selffulfilling prophecy is defined as any expectation, positive or negative, about a situation or event that affects an individual behavior in such a manner that it causes that expectation to be . 

This happens to be my favorite thing I learned about in a Child Psychology class at Texas A&M.
I think you’ll see why when you read about the impact it can have.

Examples by Age:
Early Childhood Example:
Scenario –
You are at the door with your little one, Sam, getting ready to leave a fun party.
You say to the parent next to you, “Sam always throws a fit when we leave parties!” (NEGATIVE example)

Stop and think about what your child just heard you say.  You basically told him how to act!
If he hadn’t planned on having a fit this time, he likely will now because you have just set up a prophecy for him to fulfill.

How to positively change your child’s behavior –
You know your munchkin has tendency to have a fit when you leave fun places.  You’ve even vented about it with your friends (out of the range of your child’s hearing!)  You decide that in the future, you are going to use the self-fulfilling prophecy to your advantage.

You decide to say, “Sam, we are going to leave in a couple of minutes.  When it’s time to go, I know you will make a good choice and not argue or complain!” (POSITIVE example)  (Incidentally, that’s a reference to Philippians 2:14 in the 15 Fabulous Verses to Memorize free download that can help you parent with Scripture on the go.  That same list is in the back of your copy of Parenting with Scripture: A Topical Guide for Teachable Moments.)

By the way, I’ve toooootally been there, dragging my “precious little angel” out of somewhere while he/she was kicking and screaming from under my arm.
Fun times, aren’t they?!
That’s why I enjoyed employing techniques like the self-fulfilling prophecy.
It may not work every time, but I can guarantee it cuts down on the negative behavior.

Grade School/Tween/Teen Example:
Scenario –
You or your child’s teacher says “Your homework is always late!  You can’t get it together!” (NEGATIVE example)

Stop and think about what your student just heard you say.  Is it likely that it motivated her to do better or deflated her self-image further?

How to positively change your child’s behavior –
You know your child’s grades are suffering because homework isn’t getting turned in on time.  You ask her to sit down with you for a snack at the table.
You say,
“I’m so proud of the # grader you’ve grown into!  I know you can do this homework and get it turned in on time.  What do you think we can do to help you accomplish that?” (POSITIVE example)
Then, you and your child develop and plan with appropriate rewards and consequences to help her positively and successfully accomplish this responsibility.    Related verses, discussion questions, and take action ideas for the topic of “Responsibility” can be found in Parenting with Scripture: A Topical Guide for Teachable Moments.


 Think back, are you guilty (like me!) of negative examples of the self-fulfilling prophecy?
Are you excited about seeing the flip-side that the positive versions of self-fulfilling prophecy can have?


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Are you your child’s cheerleader? Does he/she know that?

The guy who does my hair, Jerry, is a wonderful daddy to his daughter and son.  I always enjoy hearing stories of how he interacts with his kids because I often learn something.

A phrase that stuck with me is that he tells them that he is their cheerleader in life

More importantly, he backs up these words…
Think of the positive building up that occurs when he notices his daughter diligently work on math homework that she has been struggling with and says to her, “It’s so cool to watch you knock out that math that I know is challenging!  I am so very proud of you and love seeing you tackle that!”

That is a moment that could have easily been overlooked or missed.  However, he is conscious of the need our kids have for this kind of affirmation as they plug away at life. 

I want to be sure that my kids know that I’m rooting for them and on their side!  Don’t you?

This verse speaks way beyond simply cheerleading.
But since I often use verses on encouragement, I thought this one was a good change and reminder.

Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.  Ephesians 6:4

Speaking of “training and instruction of the Lord,”  remember that these cheerleading moments are fabulous times to pull topical Scripture into encouraging your child in a positive way!
…Another reason to keep Parenting with Scripture: a Topical Guide for Teachable Moments handy!


Are you your child’s cheerleader?  Does he or she know that?

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