Joshua- Bibb County Prays

This video was taken last night at our local Chamber of Commerce annual meeting.

Joshua was asked to be the speaker and to share his latest community project, ject, Bibb County Prays.

Paul and I could not be more proud of the work he and his wife are doing in our county. We are thankful to the Lord for His leading in Joshua’s life, and we are thankful that the Lord has given him a vision for ministry and outreach in our county.

May the Lord continue to bless this effort!

4H Animal Science Quiz Bowl/Skill-A-Thon 2016

It has been MONTHS since I’ve had time to do much blogging.

Paul’s new job position, the holidays, baby preparations, and LOTS of illness in our home in recent months have made it almost impossible to sit down to catch up on our family blog.

I’m going to try and catch things up a little at a time.

One of the things I’ve been working toward with our “middlers” has been to compete in our state Quizbowl/Skill-a-Thon for animal sciences.

It was a huge undertaking. The focus is primarily on cattle, sheep, goats and pigs. I thought the experience would be beneficial to them.

They have studied for months.

They have attended practices each week since October.

We have quizzed at home. We have quizzed in the car. We have attended seminars on pig processing procedures and industry. We have attended a class at a local grocery in the meat department to learn to identify various cuts and quality of meat.

It has been a long and difficult process for my children, but they have pushed forward.

(Do let me mention we have been blessed with a very energetic and excited county leader. He had made this process fun for all the children in our county.)

This past weekend was the event.

It is out county’s first experience with this contest so we were really expecting to just attend and not walk away with anything, but the entire team did a FANTASTIC job.

We walked away with each child having received several awards and our county placing third overall! It was exciting and fun. (In all, our family received 25 award ribbons for the weekend!)

Aside from the awards, I’m learning 4H can provide so many additional opportunities:

  • It was a chance for my children to learn to test in a formal setting (something they aren’t terribly familiar with since we homeschool), and they learned to use scantron sheets.
  • They made a ton of new friends. I made a few, too!
  • We enjoyed a simple and humble devotion that left my children and I with discussion all the way home from the camp.
  • The older children were able to stretch their leadership skills.

Ben and Tim also found some unexpected talent as their team won first place for cake decorating in their division (it was based on how much fun the teams seemed to be having as they decorated their cakes!):

Emma’s team also won first in her division!

They were each awarded a new spatula.

Matthew and Jessica’s team cake:

We all spent the weekend being asked about the size of our family. Jessica had one girl who wanted to know why I hadn’t gotten “fixed” like her mom. She and several other girls wanted to know if it was hard to live in a home with so many children and if they all fought like they do with their siblings.

Jessica had fun with those questions.

My older children were also asked quite a bit about why they don’t date. Apparently, one discussion grew quite a crowd. Matthew‘s comment was my favorite when he asked how those dating would explain their past to the person they finally find that is “the one”….

”What are you going to say to her? Congratulations, sweetheart, you are number 67. That is bound to make any girl feel special.” He made his point. I’m told there was silence and then they all went back to their rooms.

This was the first time my children have been so directly questioned about our beliefs. I’m glad I was there to watch them handle each situation. It was amazing to hear how patient they were, and the words they had to share with the others participating in the event.

It was a sweet time of sharing our life, and our Lord, through the way we live as a family.

We are all looking forward to going again next year!

Book Review: Jesus Calling

Jesus Calling: Enjoying Peace in His Presencewas another of my selections this month for Tommy Nelson.

I received both the original book and the companion devotional meant for children:

Both books are beautifully hardbound. With a dedication page and satin bookmark, they would make a lovely gift.

Each book is divided by days and contains one short reading (short enough to be completed in just a few minutes), for each day of the year.

I particularly loved the art and cover for the children’s book- it had a retro- “worn-in” feel.

As I read through these books, I was particularly struck by the commonality I have with the author and her experience as she watched her mother struggle and eventually pass with cancer. I understand how you learn to cling to the Lord in a way you many not have had to do before. I do appreciate the author’s thoughts behind her writing and believe her heart to be in a good place with these books, however, I was somewhat troubled by them being written from the point of view of Christ, himself.

From January 15th:

“I know that you sometimes worry about what’s ahead. The future can be frightening- like gigantic waves just waiting to crash down on you. Trust in Me. I already know the future. By the time those gigantic waves get to you¬¬, I will have struck them down to a size you can face. And I am always beside you, helping you. The closer you are to Me, the safer you will be.”

Each reading has an accompanying Bible verse along with additional suggested Bible reading.

Community Fellowship Reminder- January 15th

We would love to have you! Message me for details.

Book Review: Grace for the Moment

I grew up reading Max Lucado books. My children now own some of his children’s books, (You Are Special (Max Lucado’s Wemmicks) is a particular favorite!).

This month, the Grace for the Moment: Inspirational Thoughts for Each Day of the Yeardevotional collection was part of my December book shipment. One is meant for adults, and the other for children.

These books are a compilation of devotions (365- one for every day of the year!) to encourage you to spend time in the Word each day. Each reading only takes a few minutes.

They begin with a meaningful Bible verse and then a thoughtful inspiration for your day.

The children’s book also includes a practical application section that suggests ways to incorporate scripture into their day and apply it in their own lives.

They are both suitable for gifting, and include beautiful binding and a satin bookmark for keeping your place as you read.

I have enjoyed reading through each of these books and have already thought of some additional ways I might like to use the short devotions for my family!

Book Review: The Joshua Code

This month was my first introduction to The Joshua Code: 52 Scripture Verses Every Believer Should Know
, and to the children’s accompanying book, I Can Learn the Bible: The Joshua Code for Kids: 52 Devotions and Scriptures for Kids
.

Tommy Nelson sent me both to review for the month of December.

At first glance, this is a stunning book. The volume is bound in embossed red leather that would be a beautiful addition to any bookshelf.

As I read through the description, I was impressed that the proceeds of the book support a ministry for retired ministers:

“All royalties from the book support Mission: Dignity, a ministry that enables retired ministers (and in most cases, their widows) who are living below poverty level, to live out their days with dignity and security.”

Most of the pastors served small churches and lived in the church-owned parsonages until their retirement. Upon their retirement, they were left without homes and without income.

The focus of this book was very heavy on memorizing passages of the Bible. The children’s version gave some simple strategies for memorization. There was a particular comment in the front of the book that stood out to me: “ If kids can learn to navigate iPads at age two, they can learn the Bible, If they can repeat the dialogue of Bubble Guppies when they are preschoolers, they can learn the Bible.”

Paul and I prayed for our family a couple of years back that the Lord would teach us to use His word in our everyday life as we teach and encourage in our home. As a family, we have memorized chapters of the Bible each year- I know we could learn
more. Those memorized passages seem to stand out year after year in my mind.
Memorizing was a way of hiding the word in our hearts.

Highlights from the children’s book:

  • The book is divided by weeks
  • The Each week has an assigned Bible verse.
  • Each verse is explained in depth, and in a way that causes the child to question and understand each word in the verse and define their worldview by the Word of God, not by the world.
  • Every week has an explanation of why that verse should give a child a more God-centered worldview.
  • A closing prayer is also included.

Highlights from the adult book:

  • Gorgeous red, embossed binding
  • Like the children’s edition, the book is focused primarily on memorization and really knowing the Word
  • Each chapter has a theme passage of scripture, explained in detail
  • The writings explain how each passage can shape a believer’s worldview to be more Christ-centered.

Community Fellowship Reminder- December 8th

We would love to have you! Message me for details.

Book Review: Parable Treasury

This year is drawing to a close.

It seems surreal how quickly the seasons change.

It seemed quite appropriate for this month’s Tommy Nelson book selection to include books about changing seasons.

Here are some highlights from The Parable Treasury:

  • Written by Liz Curtis Higgs
  • Illustrated by Nancy Munger
  • 117 pages long
  • Hardback, padded pages
  • One quick note, parents who don’t celebrate Halloween may find the jack-o-lantern story objectionable
  • This book is full of great stories. I especially loved the first. The little girl realizes her attitude has been poor toward her father. EACH of the parables in this book teach an important lesson for little ones (and actually are a good reminder for grown folks, too!).

From the back of the book:

Spring brings flowers, summer brings sun and fun, autumn brings falling leaves, and winter brings the excitement of Christmas. No matter the season, God colors our world with beauty to remind us of how much He loves us.

Bestselling author Liz Curtis Higg’s Parable Treasury invites parents and kids alike to discover the good news found in each season. This timeless collection of award-winning books from The Parable Series includes:

  • The Parable of the Lily, a grace-filled message about Easter and the joy of forgiveness
  • The Sunflower Parable, a meaningful lesson about sharing God’s love with our neighbors
  • The Pumpkin Patch Parable, an uplifting tale of how God can make us new, inside and out
  • The Pine Tree Parable, a tender story about the joy of Christmas and unselfish giving

Community Fellowship Reminder- December 8th

We would love to have you! Message me for details.

Community Fellowship Reminder- November 10th

We would love to have you! Message me for details.

Book Review: I Prayed For You

I Prayed for You was part of my November book package from Tommy Nelson.

This book hit so close to home.

Paul and I have made it a habit to pray for each of our children consistently from the time we found out we were expecting.

At this season of life, we are praying over the little one growing inside of me, the one who has started a home and family of his own, and all the others, as well. I find myself praying over them all the time as little things come to mind.

What a joyful, and hefty responsibility we have to pray over the children the Lord has given to us.

I Prayed for You is a book about a bear mama and her cub.

She begins by telling her little cub how she prayed for him before he was born. She prayed through his first steps when he said his first prayers, as he learned and grew- through his all his days.

Here are some quick details about this book:

  • I Prayed For You is a hardback book, with a padded cover and rounded edges
  • This book would make a great gift for a baby or toddler
  • This book has 20 glossy pages

I adored this last page:

“Today and tomorrow, even when you are all grown up and I am old and gray, never forget, precious child- your mama will always pray for you.”

Book Review: A Very Merry Christmas Prayer

A Very Merry Christmas Prayer (A Time to Pray) arrived this month in my mailbox!

I have to say, I’ve had the hardest time not wanting to dive into Christmas. The bug has hit early this year!

This is a charming book. At a time of year when it is easy for children to think about what they want, it reminds us to give thanks to God for His many gifts and especially of His son, Jesus.

Some features of A Very Merry Christmas Prayer:

  • Board Book perfect for toddlers (but some of my older children loved it, too!)
  • Shaped book (my children loved this feature- it added interest for their little hands!)
  • Glitter accents on the cover
  • Beautiful illustrations (the snow scenes are so beautiful, I found myself looking at all the little snowflakes)
  • The entire story points back to celebrating the birth of Christ while we go about the celebration of the Christmas season.

From the back of the book:

“These little woodland animals are full of joy over so many blessings from twinkling lights and sparkling snowflakes to family fun and the gift of God’s love. Join the celebration with gratitude and make this your own very merry Christmas prayer!”